In a surprise upset, the all Asian American crew of SoReal Cru from Houston received the most votes of the week to land in the top position of “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew” while Super Crew (also has three Filipino American members) and Fanny Pak had to fight for the second spot to move forward to the championship round. When Mario Lopez called out SoReal Cru’s name, they couldn’t believe it. Brian “Brianbuyolyol” Fucanan said it best, “Are you serious? We feel like we deserve to be in the top but hearing it is such a different thing. It was so unexpected. We believe in ourselves. Just to hear it, we made our goal and now we have to set our goal higher.”
It hasn’t been an easy ride for SoReal’s beginnings as a dance crew. When they first started out, they did not have their own place to practice. Wherever they could find a place where they could see their reflections, that’s where they would dance. For Ailyn Isidro, it was a bit harder coming from a strict Filipino Christian family. Her parents did not want her to perform or be part of the crew. Because of that she slowly lost contact with them for a while. It’s been a dream of hers to be a dancer. During an episode of the show, her parents made a surprise appearance to show their support. According to Ailyn’s mother, her concern was more for her daughter’s well being, stability of her future and finishing of her education, just like any other Filipino or Asian American parents believes in. She also stated that Ailyn is now at the age to make her own decisions. As of this date, Ailyn mentioned that she talks to her mom every so often on the phone but still wonders in the back of her mind if the overall support is there.
For the other female half of SoReal, it’s been a bit hard for Jackie “Jackstar” Lautchang not being able to see her father. She knows it’s a sacrifice of being on the show. At the end of the most recent episode, Jackie “Jackstar” Lautchang’s father also made a surprise visit to the set. Emotions came rushing through as she spotted her dad before the announcement of being the top vote getter was made. Jackie “Jackstar” Lautchang explains, “I didn’t know he was coming here so I was so shocked when I saw him waving at me. He works hard and has sacrificed a lot. I couldn’t believe it. As soon as they announced it (that we were on top), a rush of emotion came through.”
The group is still amazed at where they are at now. Brian “Brianbuyolyol” Fucanan says, “All the stuff leading up to now, we’re still amazed at what we’ve come up with. We still bring it every week. I mean everyone has their moments but… it’s so overwhelming right now.” Jackstar chimes in, “I think this is the first time I realized that we’re here and we’re on national TV and how far we have gotten (when they announced our name).”
SoReal still has yet to experience the barrage of fans wanting their autographs or doing a red carpet event. Mark Fucanan thinks it’s going to be crazy when it happens. As does Andrew “Goodfoot” Baterina. “We don’t realize how big we are because we are at the hotel all the time. When we get out for a little bit, we get mobbed by all these fans. But we love it! I’ve never denied an autograph.”
Never denying an autograph is a great thing for the fans. For SoReal, they also don’t deny that this episode was hard for them. On the challenge level, they had to come up with two routines that were influenced by the 1980’s. Pat Lam blurts out, “We have three next week.”
Doing the two routines did not deter them as they met that challenge. For their second performance, SoReal definitely captured the essence of the challenge with their interpretation of the “Breakin” movie. The use of the mirrors to give an illusion of a bunch of hands waving around was one of the highlights of their routine along with the use of the stick brooms. The idea came from the genius mind of Goodfoot. “It was just an idea,” Andrew “Goodfoot” Baterina says softly. “We always messed around with them (the mirrors) so why don’t we use them in one our themes.”
Even though Baterina and crew felt like they gave their best, they still considered themselves their worst critics. This is probably one main reason why they’ve made it to the top of the show along with the support of their fan base. No matter what besets them, they are always proud of themselves and where they come from. This is what will push them harder since they now have to battle head to head with Super Cr3w.
Being from Houston, SoReal had a surprise awakening that they were in earthquake country or better yet, California. During their practice with Missy Elliott and all the remaining crews from that particular episode, they were on stage rehearsing with Missy Elliott when a morning earthquake shook Southern California at 11:42am on July 29th. For Missy Elliott and SoReal Cru, this was their very first earthquake experience. It was a bit weird as a few of the members thought it was part of the act, but when they saw the lights moving, that’s when the realization set in. SoReal’s Brian Puspo excitedly said, “It was actually fun for me. Like riding a rollercoaster.”
Earthquake aside, this will not deter SoReal from their dreams of making it big in Hollywood. They definitely are ready for the possibility of being “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Brianbuyolyol adds, “We are going to do whatever comes. Whatever big opportunities come our way. Even being top five is dope because; we may get a lot of bookings from that. I don’t know. If they pick us to win, that’s going to be crazy.”
It’s going to be SoReal’s “Explosion!”
Peter Gonzanga of Pacific Rim Photo Press was backstage. Read the entire article here.
Photo credit ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press